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Accessories A Possibly Slanted Review of the New Slant Link

I will put my possibility of being biased for personal reasons right up front so that hopefully the reader is aware and we can move on. I make mouthpieces and I do a lot of work on Links. That being the case I had to see this piece and review it.


Visual Inspection:
The baffle is much nicer than in the past. They took the weird lake at the bottom of the baffle out which is a good move.

The rails were uneven. I dont put too much stock in this as the thickness of each rail in reference to the other doesnt make much difference. I suspect some peoples got even ones.

After this I checked for flatness of the table. Like every Modern Link the table is concave.

The facing is parallel due to hand work and extra efforts by hand. The curve is not nailed but definitely not bad.

There is no clearly defined tip rail. I was a little concerned about that.


Tone and Playability:
By this time the the reed was soaked so it was time for the important parts. I tried some reeds on it and the piece played quite well. It blew pretty efficiently and wasnt stuffy and resistant. The tone was generally good. The low end was nice and had resonance, the mids were strong but the highs considerably thinner than I have grown accustomed to on a good link. What I really missed was the complexity of a good link. That enveloping, expansive tone and the thick singing highs.

I wondered why this was present until I changed to a Custom Link. The answer became apparent, the new Link has a smaller chamber. The difference on the cork was very significant. I stuck my fingers inside from the tip portion as well and felt a significant difference as well.


Final Thoughs:
To be blunt (flame me now) This is not an Otto link (in the traditional sense). It looks, smells, and tastes like one but its a contemporary piece in Otto Length clothing. Simply put the new Slant is NOT a large chambered mouthpiece. The new Slant is a medium chambered mouthpiece with a low rollover Link style baffle with a long facing length that rounds out the low end of the horn. If you were to put a medium facing length on this mouthpiece it would be closer (maybe brighter) than a HR V16. When I really took a look at the chamber I was shocked at how small it really was in comparison to some pieces I consider to have medium to medium large chambers. For those playing vintage horns that really struggle with intonation on lesser chambers and rely on Links to fill the bill I suspect this is not your answer.

I wont say Im disappointed. Babbitt has made a nice mouthpiece that sounds good and plays well out of the box. Its presents in the spirit of days with better Links and this is to be applauded. However, (yes, there is a big however) given the price of the mouthpiece (and I expect the price to increase) you can still buy a regular modern Link, spend the additional money to have it reworked by a number of mpc guys that do great work on Links, and end up with a superior product in terms of precision and tone.
Author
Phil
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Very informative indeed
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